SJAA Viewing Sites
Here are some of the observing sites used by SJAA members and other amateur astronomers around the South Bay.
Links to SJAA Sites and directions:
The maps shown below are interactive and can be zoomed and panned.
Click on “View Large Map” below each map for a full blown Google map where you can obtain directions to the location.
Enter Houge Park at the blue marker on the map.
This is the site of our city star parties and the location of our monthly general meetings. Houge (rhymes with “Yogi”) Park is in San Jose, near Campbell and Los Gatos. This location is very convenient for city residents, and a good location for introducing people to amateur astronomy. Views of the constellations, brighter deep sky objects, the moon and planets are typical observing targets. Between the parking lot and tennis courts is a sidewalk where public star parties are held. The meeting hall is directly ahead (south) of the parking lot.
Restrooms: on the other side of the the hall.
The SJAA has been working with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (sometimes called simply the OSA) to make one of their sites available to astronomers. The OSA’s Rancho Cañada del Oro (sometimes called RCDO, or Rancho) site is made available more and more with the dedicated work of SJAA members Chris Kelly and Dave Ittner. Both are also docents with the OSA, which really makes the partnership between the two organizations that much more cohesive. If you are interested in experiencing a fairly dark site that’s not too far from home, consider coming out to Rancho when it’s announced it will be open. Located just south of Calero County Park, between San Jose and Morgan Hill, Rancho gets surprisingly dark for being so close to an urban area. OSA Docent needs to be present to open and close.
Restroom: 1 permanent toilet opened during evenings.
GPS Coordinates: 37 08 50.57 N 121 46 29.56 W
The SJAA has been granted use of Mendoza Ranch from the Santa Clara County Parks on the new moon Saturdays. SJAA members Ed Wong, Dave Ittner, Gary Chock, Arun Subramanian are the SJAA’s permit holders for the site. If you are interested in experiencing a semi dark site that’s not too far from home, consider coming out to Mendoza Ranch when it’s announced it will be open. Located just west of Coyote Lake in Gilroy. Mendoza Ranch has seen SQM meter readings on 21.2 which is quite dark for site located near an urban city. Only on the dark Sat. weekend and site license holder needs to be on site (currently Ed Wong, Dave Ittner, Gary Chock, Arun Subramanian).
Mendoza Ranch GPS Coordinates: 37 04 14.20 N 121 31 20.90 W
7/24 open access, just pay $6 at the machine at the entrance if no ranger is present.
Restroom: 3 Porta potty toilets opened 7/24.
Coyote Lake Boat Ramp GPS Coordinates: N 37 05 34.28 W 121 32 33.05
Restrooms: 1 Porta potty toilet opened 7/24.
Coyote Lake Dam GPS Coordinates: N 37 07 03.77 W 121 33 05.14
7/24 open access, just pay $6 at the iron pole.
Restrooms: 3 Porta potty toilets opened 7/24.
Hunting Hollow GPS Coordinates: N 37 04 33.88 W 121 27 59.54.
7/24 open access, just pay $8 at the iron pole.
Restrooms: 1 Porta potty toilet access unknown.
Main Overflow Lot GPS Coordinates: N 37 11 14.56 W 121 33 03.86
The iron ranger (iron pole pay drop-off) is up the road among the main buildings. You have to drive up to it first, pay, then drive back down to the Overflow Lot. Make sure you keep the receipt tab with you.
Need to get permit to go. (see Permit Information)
Restrooms: 1 permanent toilet access unknown.
Monte Bello GPS Coordinates: N 37 19 31.84 W 122 10 43.52
Fremont Peak State Park is south of the village of San Juan Bautista, about a 1 hour drive from San Jose.
There are several areas within the park used by astronomers.The areas near the ranger house (Observatory and Ranger row on the are managed under contract to the state by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association. Contact FPOA for access if you want to set up a scope. FPOA runs a summer program at this location using their 30″ telescope. For more information contact FPOA.
The Coutler and SW Lot areas are managed directly by the park.
The annual CalStar dark sky party is at Lake San Antonio in southern Monterey County. Lake San Antonio is approximately 2.5 hours south of San Jose.
Here is some information about visiting at other times. See the CalStar site for maps and directions.
Coming soon ….